New contract keeps Everett teachers as Washington’s best-paid

In a three-year pact, the union and district focused on increasing pay for beginning teachers.

EVERETT — Veteran teachers in the Everett Public Schools will continue to earn the highest salaries in the state with their newest contract.

And under terms of the three-year deal, the teachers union and school district are moving to do the same for those beginning their careers as classroom instructors.

The district’s Board of Directors is expected to approve the collective bargaining agreement Sept. 14. The Everett Education Association, which represents 1,350 educators, ratified the terms last month.

This is one of eight new teacher contracts completed in area school districts in recent days, with a ninth, in Edmonds, wrapped up in July. Each one covers issues such as schedules and evaluation processes. Pay raises, which are one closely watched component, ranged from 2.5% to 5% for certificated instructors this school year.

In Everett, the agreement calls for an across-the-board increase of 2.75% in the first year and increases of at least 3.5% in the second year and 4% in the third.

The top salary will rise to $131,006 for those with at least 14 years experience plus a bachelor’s, a master’s and 135 units of professional education credits. That is the state’s highest mark, followed by Mukilteo, where teachers can earn up to $130,042 under a contract that runs through next August.

Pay for beginning teachers in Everett will get a bigger bump percentage-wise, rising an estimated 6.8% in the contract’s second year and roughly 7.3% in the final year.

While Everett is known for shelling out top dollar to experienced teachers, it offers one of the lowest starting salaries for beginning teachers compared to neighboring districts. Union and district leaders said they want that to change.

“Providing highly competitive salaries draws and retains teachers up here,” said association president Jared Kink. “Now we are going to start getting teachers right out of educational programs into Everett and keeping them here for their careers. We want lifetime Everett teachers here.”

With this agreement, a new instructor will earn $59,334 this year and a projected $63,424 next school year. By comparison, the Edmonds School District currently pays new teachers the most, $68,965, with Lake Stevens, Northshore, Mukilteo, Arlington, Snohomish and Stanwood all paying salaries above $60,000 to beginning teachers.

“The negotiation process was total collaboration between the union and the staff. I think it is well-deserved,” Everett schools Superintendent Ian Saltzman said of the outcome.

• Teachers in Edmonds worked out their deal in July. That’s when they negotiated a one-year contract extension containing a salary hike of 2% for certificated teachers plus a $1,250 increase for each step in their salary schedule. It hiked the wages for starting teachers and pushed the top salary to $124,658.

Negotiations in Snohomish, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Arlington, Stanwood and Lakewood resulted in three-year collective bargaining agreements, while Darrington teachers hammered out a two-year deal.

• On Friday, the Snohomish School Board unanimously approved a contract with the Snohomish Education Association that will pay $61,609 to new teachers and $122,322 to the most experienced.

It contains a 4% salary increase for the first year that began Sept. 1. Half the increase — 2% — is the amount of the Implicit Price Deflator, or IPD, and is funded by the state. The IPD is a figure used to measure inflation and is an alternative to the Consumer Price Index. Most districts will receive state funding for IPD.

In the latter years of the Snohomish contract, salaries will climb by 2% plus the IPD determined by the state.

• Also last week, the Marysville School Board inked an agreement with its teachers that provides an increase of 3.5% this year. Information on the second and third years was not released.

New teachers will earn $58,128, up from $56,153 last year, while veteran instructors will make $121,255, up from $117,224.

• This week, on Tuesday, directors of the Stanwood-Camano School District could endorse an accord struck with its teachers. It contains a first-year raise of 4% followed by hikes of 2% plus IPD in the second and third years.

A beginning teacher will make $60,160 this school year and the most experienced will earn $116,455 under this contract.

• On Wednesday, the Lake Stevens School Board is expected to approve an agreement with the Lake Stevens Education Association to bump up salaries by 3.75% in the first year, 1% plus IPD in the 2nd year and 1.5% plus IPD in the last year.

Salaries this year will range from $65,124 for a new teacher to $125,636 for the most experienced.

“I’m grateful to the members of both the district and the LSEA bargaining teams for their great collaborative work on many common interests to reach this important agreement,” Lake Stevens Superintendent Ken Collins wrote in a letter to employees.

• In Arlington, teachers ratified their three-year deal last week and the school board is to act Sept. 13.

It calls for wage hikes of 2.5% this year, 2% plus IPD in the second year and 3% plus IPD in the final year. A new teacher will make $62,194 this school year while those at the top of the scale will earn $121,660.

• On Sept. 15, the Lakewood School Board is expected to approve the deal that teachers backed last week.

It calls for wage hikes of 5% this year, 3% plus IPD next year and only the state-funded inflation amount in the final year.

A starting teacher on the new salary schedule will earn $59,665 with those at the top of the scale making $117,460.

“We are very pleased with this agreement. It enables Lakewood to attract and retain high-quality staff with salaries that are comparable to neighboring districts, while holding onto our longstanding commitment to a sustainable budget,” Superintendent Scott Peacock said in an email.

• In Darrington, the teachers and district wrapped up a two-year agreement late last month that pays a first-year teacher an annual salary of $59,246 and the most veteran a wage of $111,668.

Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com; 360-352-8623 @dospueblos

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